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Three-Quarters of Americans Back Plan to Negotiate Drug Costs Through Medicare

Only 6 percent of Americans said they disagreed with the federal government negotiating drug costs.

A mother with a shopping cart grocery shopping for products in a supermarket.

A new poll demonstrates that the vast majority of Americans support the Biden administration’s policy of Medicare negotiating with pharmaceutical companies to lower prescription drug prices.

The Associated Press/NORC poll, conducted from September 7 to 11, asked respondents whether they favored such a program. More than three-quarters (76 percent) said that they do, while only 6 percent said they were outright opposed to the program. Around one in five voters (18 percent) said they did not have an opinion on the matter.

Support for the program, which was passed last year as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, transcended party lines, with 86 percent of Democrats and 66 percent of Republicans voicing support. But when the issue was tied to President Joe Biden, who has long been a supporter of the policy, partisan politics appeared to seep into people’s opinions.

When asked about Biden’s job performance relating to prescription drug costs, 7 in 10 Democrats said they gave him positive marks. But only a quarter of Republicans said they approved of his work on the issue.

The Biden White House has heralded the program as one that will help working class Americans who are struggling to pay for critical prescription medications.

“There is no reason why Americans should be forced to pay more than any developed nation for life-saving prescriptions just to pad Big Pharma’s pockets,” Biden said in a statement last month.

Four of the ten medications that were announced in the initial round of negotiating drug costs are for the treatment of diabetes. The remainder are for treating various other conditions, including heart failure, psoriasis and arthritis, blood cancer and Crohn’s disease. The ten drugs listed account for one in five medications that are part of Medicare Part D prescription costs.

More pharmaceutical drugs subjected to negotiations will be announced in the future, the administration has said.

Per the terms of the law, companies that produce the ten medications will have until the start of next month to decide if they’ll take part in the negotiation process — if they don’t, they’ll be subject to an excise tax equal to 95 percent of their total U.S. drug sales, or they’ll have to opt out of participating in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Some pharmaceutical companies have sued the Biden administration over the law, contending that it is in violation of the Constitution. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is also suing the White House. In total, at least eight lawsuits seek to challenge the law’s requirement to negotiate prices.

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